As a new director, who has had still camera experience in the past (and a limited amount of using motion picture cameras), I'd like to incorporate a third camera into my documentary mix. Would you folks think a Go Pro Hero 5 could supply ample quality for b-roll, or indeed, alternate angles for interviews?
Documentary 3rd cameraGo Pro Hero 5
Posted 01 January 2017 - 12:54 AM
It's an awfully wide-angle image, you'd probably see your other camera and lights in the frame. And the quality isn't great except in brighter light levels. GoPros are good for what they were designed for, extreme sports, mounted to bikes, etc. and used in quick cuts if intercut with stuff shot on better cameras.
It would be easy enough to shoot a test and cut it together and decide for yourself, but if you want a cheap-ish C-camera for quick cutaways, you might consider something with interchangeable lenses, like a Sony A6300.
Posted 01 January 2017 - 06:48 AM
I agree with David .. go pro is never used as a B camera for B roll or alternative angels for interviews.. even when its used for what its designed for it usually needs a fair amount of work in post to get it looking better, to cut into A camera shots.. I actually have the A6300 and its a pretty decent image for a low cost.. most of the A7 series features in a mirrorless APS C sensor.. there is now the A6500 too.. so the A6300 is probably cheaper.. and a alot of good E mount lenses can be used..
Gopro is a handy camera to have for doc,s too though.. I used mine alot for time lapse now more than anything.. and the app for your phone has made using them alot easier.. more for attaching to things than actual shooting B roll though..
Posted 01 January 2017 - 04:32 PM
Thank you David and Robin-- I'm glad I didn't buy one over Christmas. A friend has a Go Pro drone ( a new Phantom, I believe). Would your advice be the same re getting aerial footage of campuses, etc. (i.e., the footage might not blend in well, and we'd have to shoot on a bright day?) Happy New Year, and thanks again for everything!
Posted 01 January 2017 - 05:23 PM
I think daylight in general is fine for the GoPro, it doesn't have to be bright outside (and in fact, it may be better if the light is not too harsh...) And for aerial cutaways, you aren't talking about having to match perfectly with another camera as in multi-camera interview or dialogue scene.
Posted 01 January 2017 - 07:48 PM
Yes I didn't mean to dismiss go pro,s out of hand..I have a couple of them.. and the newer ones are alot better than the older models image wise.. but they will always look like go pro,s.. for good and for bad.. just that are not a usual B camera.. and don't be fooled by the PR video ,s they put out.. some post work has gone into them.. (coloring and stabilization ). and I think thats expected with go pro footage.. plus usually you are not using them for long shots time wise..
For drones you dont have a huge choice anyway.. you need something light weight and wide angle.. I wouldn't set to max wide angle as then you get the horizon really bending if you go high enough.. but you want to be wide angle 99% of the time anyway if you are bothering to be up there ..
Personally I think footage from DSLR type camera,s is nicer.. but then you need bigger drones to carry them.. which eat more battery etc. and our very noisy... with these drones you often get a 2 man crew.. one flies the thing and the other operates the camera.. like a real helicopter ..iris and focus can also be controlled.. so you tend to get more "up market" looking footage at the end of the day.. but thats a totally different budget from the go pro (type) drone ..
Yes bright but over cast can often be your friend.. the go pro camera,s or any like them don't handle flare well or have much dynamic range to see into shadows ..plus you dont have to worry abut the shadow of the damn think itself.. which gives the game away very quickly..
Edited by Robin R Probyn, 01 January 2017 - 07:53 PM.
Posted 02 January 2017 - 04:53 PM
Thanks again you two! I may not be able to get the film crew I had before, meaning I may have to look for a principle (or A) camera on my own this time (they brought their own equipment last documentary). What would you recommend as the most bang for the buck for this low budget doc-- i.e., what is the least expensive A with good quality? I could always rent equipment your recommendations as well.
Posted 02 January 2017 - 06:37 PM
That's one of the most common questions: "what is the best quality camera for the least amount of money?" Trouble is that quality is subjective and so is how expensive something is. I could mention a $20,000 camera when you were thinking more of a $2000 camera.
A good frame of reference is what you see most crews shooting in HD for reality television like for the Food Network or the Travel Channel, usually something small and mobile but with decent-enough quality for HD broadcast -- cameras like the Canon C300, Sony FS7 or Sony F5, etc. Below that, you start seeing cameras like the Panasonic GH4 and other DSLR video cameras. Take a look at this article, for example:
Posted 02 January 2017 - 06:51 PM
This is an easy question.. the Sony Fs7 is by far the best bang for the buck.. to buy or rent.. $8,500 on B&H.. body only.. E mount has a very shallow lens flange .. so you can just about put any lens on the thing.. 4K HFR,s.. small consumer batteries,cheap media etc.. or even better alot of second hand F5,s around these days.. which is a better camera.. but not by much.. more on the usability front as it has a side LCD panel.. and 16 bit RAW.. (Fs7 RAW at 12 bit is questionable on a 14 stop DR camera)..
C300 also very cheap these days.. but the ergonomics is well.. probably the worst camera ever designed.. so you,ll need alot of 3rd party add ons.. which will probably put it higher than the just buying the Fs7..
These camera,s are not Alexa,s.. or high end feature camera,s..but the Sony,s are true 4K sensor camera,s 17-9.. which is more than the Amira !..
Posted 03 January 2017 - 05:12 PM
Thanks again David, Robin and Macks for all your fantastic expertise and insight (not to mention, your graciousness in answering a newcomer)!